Home 5 Articles and Reports 5 Freedom to publish discussed in Sharjah

Freedom to publish discussed in Sharjah

by | Oct 31, 2019 | Articles and Reports, News

Despite being stated in laws and constitutions, the freedom to publish is often “denied by latent or explicit pressure on cultural institutions run by the state,” said Mahmoud Lutfi, brother of the publisher and bookseller Khaled Lutfi, who is in prison in Egypt for publishing a translation of a title that the government did not like.

Lutfi addressed delegates at the Sharjah International Book Fair Publishers Conference where he talked about his brother Khaled who was given the International Publishers Association [IPA] Prix Voltaire, its freedom to publish prize, earlier this year.

“Speaking about the freedom to publish is a big responsibility because it means touching upon issues that are still sensitive in our Arab culture,” he said.  “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the IPA for their role in making the case of my brother visible in international media and in professional newsletters and for still considering his release as one of its priorities.  This gives hope that that the Arab World could enjoy more freedom in the near future regarding publishing.”

The session was chaired by Jacks Thomas, Director of the London Book Fair, who observed: “As a publishing industry we jealously guard our freedom to publish.  But we are all at different stages of industry organisation and maturity.  Each country is – happily – a little different and we all have much to learn from each other.”  The maturity of different countries’ publishing industries is a factor, she believes.

Daniel Gorman, Director of English PEN joined via skype and noted that the organisation believed in “free expression based on mutual respect.  He added: “We would like to see PEN established in the United Arab Emirates and we continue to call for more of freedom to Publish in the UAE”.

Kristenn Einarsson noted the increasing restrictions on educational publishing in parts of Europe, with the state intervening at the expense of local publishers, while Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, underlined the importance of understanding the culture.  “One size does not fit all,” she said.  “Each country is unique in culture and history.  What may be acceptable in one country may not be in another.”

But she said there was a way through, and cited the example of children’s title Peppa Pig which was initially queried because Islam forbids the eating of pork but which is now widely available.  Openness and discussion has an important part to play – the session itself was part of that very openness.

Recent News

04Mar
Arrow Gate Secures Sam Martin’s Bitterblue Rights

Arrow Gate Secures Sam Martin’s Bitterblue Rights

Arrow Gate Publishing secures the rights to Sam Martin’s third literary venture, “Bitterblue.” In an exclusive deal, Sandra David, the publishing director, has acquired the global rights directly from the accomplished screenwriter. The novel is set to hit shelves worldwide on July 23, 2024. “Bitterblue” promises readers a distinctive experience, offering a thrilling journey through […]

04Mar
“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

  Collectively written by 36 American and Canadian authors whose work spans a variety of literary genres, “Fourteen Days” follows a cast of characters trapped in their New York apartment building in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, and during — as its title suggests — 14 days of lockdown. The twist lies in […]

04Mar
A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

At age 16, Reginald Dwayne Betts was tried as an adult and sentenced to prison. After surviving solitary confinement, he is now a poet, lawyer and award-winning MacArthur “genius” grant recipient. He’s also a man on a mission: in 2020, with a grant from the Mellon Foundation, he founded Freedom Reads, a first-of-its-kind initiative that […]

Related Posts

“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

  Collectively written by 36 American and Canadian authors whose work spans a variety of literary genres, “Fourteen Days” follows a cast of characters trapped in their New York apartment building in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, and during — as its...

A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

At age 16, Reginald Dwayne Betts was tried as an adult and sentenced to prison. After surviving solitary confinement, he is now a poet, lawyer and award-winning MacArthur “genius” grant recipient. He’s also a man on a mission: in 2020, with a grant from the Mellon...

Vilnius Fair: Nurturing Young Readers

Vilnius Fair: Nurturing Young Readers

The Vilnius Book Fair recently concluded its literature extravaganza at LITEXPO from February 22 to 25 In Lithuania. This grand Baltic festival, known for its diverse program, showcased a special focus on educating young readers.   The Hall of Young Readers, a...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest